"It's all about self-empowerment, not entitlement."
That is the reason why Monmouth County Referral Group (MCRG) Founding Board Member Ken Scaggs said his group chose to hold a second annual fundraiser, this year dubbed A Night of Hope to Feed the Soul to benefit the JBJ (Jon Bon Jovi) Soul Kitchen at Pazzo Restaurant in Red Bank on Thursday night.
MCRG is a business networking group dedicated to area self-started small businesses helping one another grow and thrive, "especially in an economy like the one we've been experiencing," Scaggs said. "Everyone here has worked or started their business and got where they are by had work and dedication. The Soul Kitchen works on the same sort of premise. It's a great source of empowerment."
Local rocker Bon Jovi's Red Bank restaurant has no prices and thrives only on in-kind service donations in exchange for meals.(Click here for more information on JBJ Soul Kitchen.)
So, the crowd of 170, each paying $125, enjoyed a three-course meal, entertainment, a silent auction and more to benefit the cause. Last year, MCRG raised $6,000 for the Soul Kitchen. This year, event organizer and board member and owner/operator of Social Butterfly, Debbie Noce, said they expected to double that amount and raise roughly $12,000.
Three new MCRG board members were also introduced last night: Jodi Moylan, Carin Hep and John Svenda.
Entertainment was provided by Scott Elk, of Essential Sounds Entertainment, and Charlotte Sometimes, singer and guitar player from The Voice's second season.
MTC Photography was on hand to take pictures of the event and flowers were provided by Flowers By Melanie.
"We were sold out very quickly," Doce said. "It's been a very successful evening."